Thursday, January 29, 2009

Butter and Doors

I'm introducing the topic of lateral thinking to my batch of freshman students this quarter. Our class is learning how to think in non-linear, non-logical, completely upside-down ways. And so the need to understand lateral thinking.

If you need an actual definition, I won't be the one to give it to you. As a non-creative, I don't thoroughly understand the concept myself. It's better explained using examples. Here are a couple of lateral thinking puzzles I found that prove it isn't easy as pie.

try this:
Two frogs fell into a cylindrical tank of liquid and both fell to the bottom. The walls were sheer and slippery. One frog died, the other survived. Why?

or this:
Jim and Joe were fighting, so their mother punished them by making them both stand on the same sheet of yesterday’s newspaper until they were ready to make up. She did this is such a way that neither of the boys could touch each other. How did she manage to do this?

The first one, no one would get in a million years. The second one, maybe quarter of a million. Thinking harder and longer doesn't help. Thinking non-linear, non-logical and completely upside down just might.

good luck.


Joe Nafziger said...

what? these are crazy hard.

my guesses are:
1. one of the frogs is still a tadpole, so he can swim.
2. Jim and Joe either stand on the same piece of paper at separate times, or the mom rips the newspaper in half.

no? yes?

Cecilia Gorman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cecilia Gorman said...

This entry isn't called butter and doors for no reason! try again ;)

TracieMae said...

Okay. I'm gonna give it a go. Even though the "Butter" part of "Butter and Doors" is throwing me for a loop.

My guesses are:
- When that one frog died, the other frog got on top of him to stay afloat. (I think dead frogs float.)

-Okay the only thing I can come up with for the second one is that she slid the newspaper under a door so that each boy was on one side of the door, but still standing on the same sheet.

Those are my final answers.
I also wanted to thank you for speaking to my class at the Creative Circus a couple of weeks ago. We were all appreciative of your tips, because even though it's really difficult to get a job right now - with your tips we feel better prepared to give it our best shot.

Thanks again.

Truzen said...

I know the answer to number 2, so I won't spoil it for the next person.

For #1, I'm guessing from the title that the frogs were in milk. One kept fighting and swimming, churning the milk into butter, while the other one simply gave up.

Cecilia Gorman said...

Truzen: Very close with Milk, but it is actually cream that the frogs churned into butter. Nice job. And yes, one of the frogs drowned while churning away. Sad I know.

And sliding the newspaper under a door is correct. What mom does this I wonder?